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December 12, 2002

Port Orange recognizes residents who take action

From: Daytona Beach News-Journal, FL - 12 Dec 2002

By PETE BOHACZYK News-Journal Correspondent

Port Orange residents were recognized for their community contributions, volunteerism and leadership in a ceremony at the Port Orange Regional Library Saturday afternoon.

Foremost on the list to be recognized was Port Orange Pickwick Village resident Thomas Blake, 38, who was presented with the Mayor's Community Hero Medal.

Blake has cerebral palsy, is deaf and uses a wheelchair, a walker or a crutch to move about. That didn't stop him from saving the life of Stewart Forrester, 71, who would have drowned after losing consciousness and sinking to the bottom of the Pickwick Village swimming pool.

Blake dove into the water and brought Forrester to the surface. Unable to get Forrester out of the pool, Blake held the hapless bather at poolside for 30 minutes until help arrived.

The library auditorium was filled with friends and relatives of those receiving the awards.

For the first time, the mayor presented medallions embossed with the city's 135th anniversary logo to each winner, who each received a Christmas ornament bearing that logo and the offical city logo. The names of the recipients will be placed on a plaque at the city's Memorial Park on Jackson Street.

Those recognized were Leszek Balla, Robert Bird, Doug Clark, Woodrow Keiser, George Meister, Arline Norian, Paul Payne, Elmer Rego, Eva Williams and Mary Wittmeyer.

Mayor Dorothy Hukill presented the awards, as she told the audience of the achievements that won them this recognition.

"Today, we have honored people who have given unselfishly their own time, energy, service to Port Orange." Hukill said. "One young man we especially honored for his heroic effort in saving a life recently at Pickwick Village. It is a wonderful day, not only for the honorees and their families, but for the entire community of Port Orange."

Port Orange pride

Recipients whose names will be placed on a plaque at the city's Memorial Park on Jackson Street are:

-- Mary Wittmeyer, treasurer for the Port Orange Volunteer Police.

-- Charlie Reno, an 85-year-old, full-time Daytona International Speedway employee, who provides volunteer courier service.

-- Paul Payne, who works the boat ramp weekends.

-- Leszek Balla, a 13-year VIP member.

-- Arline Norian, who averages more than 550 hours a year as a library volunteer.

-- Bob Bird, president of the Friends of the Library. In 2001, he logged in 868 volunteer hours.

-- Eva Williams, who volunteers on the reference desks two day per week.

© 2002 News-Journal Corporation, (SM)